"Steps on the Path of Dialogue," a Commentary by Maggie Herzig

March 7, 2008

Author: Maggie Herzig

Source: Public Conversations Project


Why bother to walk the path of dialogue with someone who has a different worldview, identity or religion? Or with someone in your own community who has a different view on a divisive issue?

Perhaps you’ve noticed a growing disconnection or polarization that is threatening a particular community that you care about deeply. Or threatening the global community.

Perhaps you have had several personal experiences in which you have felt stereotyped, mocked or even demonized.

Or maybe you haven’t. Maybe there’s something about your identity and the contexts in which you live that allows you to feel understood and affirmed in most circumstances. And you recognize that others don’t have that privilege. You understand that prejudice and disconnection affects all of us, even those who are less frequently the targets. Perhaps you feel that the path to true security is through connection and collaboration.

Maybe you have been guided toward dialogue through scripture, through the words and deeds of prophets and saints, or by the words of inspirational poets, orators or civic leaders. Or maybe you have simply taken to heart the Golden Rule, having seen that rule in the heart of all the world’s great religions and in humanism.

Whatever your sources of motivation or inspiration, these tips might offer some guidance as you embark on a journey of dialogue.